Europe holds its breath as Italy prepares to vote in far-right leader


Giorgia Meloni’s coalition would be the nation’s most radical administration since Mussolini.


Italians are casting their ballots in an election that is expected to produce the nation’s most extreme right-wing administration since the end of World War II and a prime minister ready to serve as a role model for nationalist parties around Europe.

Polls conducted prior to the election predicted that a coalition led by Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy, a party with neofascist roots, would win a comfortable victory in both chambers of parliament while receiving between 44 and 47% of the vote.

She may become Italy’s first female prime minister as Meloni’s party is expected to receive the largest proportion of votes inside the coalition, which also includes the far-right League led by Matteo Salvini and Forza Italia led by Silvio Berlusconi.

However, the coalition’s triumph raises concerns about the nation’s European allies, and despite Meloni’s efforts to convey comforting words, her accession to power is not likely to be well received in Paris or Berlin.

Last week, the ruling Social Democratic party in Germany issued a warning that her victory would be detrimental to inter-European harmony. Meloni, according to SPD leader Lars Klingbeil, has sided with “anti-democratic” individuals like Viktor Orbán, the prime minister of Hungary.

Meloni’s MEPs dissented from a resolution earlier this month that referred to Hungary as “a hybrid regime of electoral autocracy.” Meloni also collaborates with the far-right Vox party in Spain, the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats, and the ruling nationalist Law and Justice party in Poland.

 

Near the close of her campaign, the 45-year-old firebrand politician from Rome who was endorsed by Vox stated that the two parties were united by “mutual respect, friendship, and loyalty” and hoped that Brothers of Italy’s triumph would give Vox some traction in Spain.

Nadia Urbinati, a political theorist at the Universities of Bologna and Columbia in Unique York, remarked that Meloni “has an ambition to represent a paradigm not only for Italy, but for Europe” – something new for the right in Italy. The model is there, and the initiative is on track, according to contacts she has with other conservative parties who favor a Europe with less civil rights.

Professor of politics at Sapienza University in Rome, Mattia Diletti, predicted that Meloni will triumph because of her capacity to be both ideological and pragmatic, which has allowed her to surpass the French far-right leader, Marine Le Pen, as the role model for nationalism in western Europe.

She won’t upset the apple cart, at least not right away, since she wants to ensure continued financial inflows for Italy’s €191.5 billion (£166 billion) EU Covid recovery programme, the largest in the EU. The coalition has stated that while it would like to make adjustments to the plan, it is not looking to renegotiate it.

The secret to comprehending Meloni, according to Diletti, is ambiguity. She really wants to get an agreement on economic politics with the EU. But she can always go back to her safe zone as a populist rightwing leader if the EU pushes her too hard on the Italian government. To maintain her position of authority, she will take whatever action is necessary.

Salvini’s likely return to the interior ministry will also dash hopes for progress in the EU’s protracted effort to revamp its immigration system by distributing asylum claimants across member states. Salvini, who is sympathetic to Le Pen, expressed his eagerness to continue his practice of preventing migrant rescue ships from docking in Italian ports.

While Meloni has denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and backed sending arms there, it is still unknown whether her administration will accept the eighth set of EU sanctions currently being negotiated in Brussels. Although Salvini never opposed any EU sanctions on Russia while serving in Mario Draghi’s wide coalition government, which disintegrated in July, Salvini has claimed that sanctions are forcing Italy to its knees.


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On Sunday, voting began at 7 a.m., and by noon, 19% of eligible voters had cast ballots. Since 25% of voters were still undecided before the election, the right-wing alliance may have a narrower victory than predicted by pollsters. It is anticipated that a left-leaning coalition lead by the Democratic party will receive 22-27% of the vote.

As a result of the populist Five Star Movement’s mini-revival and its pledge to uphold its signature program, the basic income, if it returns to power, many seats in southern Italian provinces like Puglia and Calabria could also be up for grabs.

In the cosmopolitan neighborhood of Esquilino in Rome, there was a constant stream of voters to a poll on Sunday morning, but the atmosphere was dejected.


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Carlo Russo remarked, “It feels like we’re on a boat without a rudder. “Instead of an exchange of ideas, all we heard during the election campaign was insults being thrown back and forth between the various parties. And in situations like this, people tend to vote for the candidate who appears to be the strongest.

Owner of a newspaper stand Fausto Maccari said he won’t vote for the right but isn’t sure who he will support. The choices are bad, said the 60-year-old Maccari. For instance, when I see Berlusconi, I think of a cartoon figure. He shouldn’t be involved in politics at his age. It would be similar to me trying to play football like Maradona at my age.

Many Italians who back Meloni do so because she hasn’t been tried and tested in government and because they are drawn to her tenacity and devotion to her principles.

She presents herself as a strong, confident woman who isn’t haughty, according to Urbinati. She is committed and gets things done, yet she lacks the aggressive masculinity that seeks power at all costs.


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By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter

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